Violin upgrade: part I

I’ve been working on my violin technique some more and I feel as if I am improving over time, which is good, but I’m not up to standard yet (certainly not the standard I was as a younger man). In part, it’s physical – my 4th finger has a minor injury that has never quite gotten better but causes me discomfort during complex movements/passages and constantly wants to “click”. I could look at having it treated but the only option would be needless surgery and there would be just as much chance of making it worse – it only affects my playing, not typing or whatever, so I’m inclined to live with it.

Aside from the physical issues I have, I decided the violin itself needed an overhaul and a new set of strings. I’ve previously had a good experience with Cambridge Music, even if I can never seem to speak to someone who is directly versed in violins (they must have someone, they collate custom string sets, etc. and I know this person has been referred to, at least indirectly at any rate). I went there this evening and bought a $50 set – three Dominants and a Pirastro E string (I cunngingly avoided talking about my G…oh, never mind). I’ve installed and tuned them, but they are going to need some breaking in and are going out of tune every few minutes by a fraction of a semi-tone and requiring adjustment. But the instrument sounds so much better for it – more like a violin than a dying cat.

I’ve also bought what they call a “practice mute”, which is essentially an oversize mute designed to do more than a performance mute – it’s designed for volume reduction, and not a performance style – since I’ve been concerned that I might make too much noise in the apartment building, and, somewhat more importantly, I often want to play depressing music to myself in the early hours…it’s easier if you don’t wake others up and have them come talk to you about it. No, I’ve not actually done that, yet, since I don’t dislike my neighbours enough to justify that ;-)

I’m still thinking about a Yamaha silent violin, and also about lessons (know any good violin teachers in Cambridge? No, not that Cambridge, the other one) once I have worked on my positioning, bowing technique, and other style concerns that I have. I am considering taking up the piano, but that will be more of an investment in a week where I’m not also thinking about having sailing lessons and inventing free time I don’t have to do these things in.


Leave a Reply